02 September 2020

Woman with schizophrenia being guided by co-worker on her first day at new job

It is possible for someone living with schizophrenia to find fulfilling employment

Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person's ability to think, feel and behave clearly.

Many people may not realise that there are several kinds of schizophrenia, it is a mental illness and someone with schizophrenia (unless pre-existing) does not have an intellectual disability.

People who live with schizophrenia often experience abnormal interpretations of reality - they are affected by symptoms such as disorganised speech and behaviour, scattered thoughts, difficulty expressing emotions, fatigue and difficulty concentrating and remembering.

Delusions and hallucinations are also significant symptoms; a person living with schizophrenia can experience auditory hallucinations, known as the sensation of 'hearing voices'.

Mental health and seeking employment 

If you're living with schizophrenia the prospect of going through the process of finding a job or holding down a job could feel formidable.

It's natural to feel like you don't know where to start, or if it's possible.

At APM, our experienced Employment Consultants assist people with a range of abilities, including mental health conditions.

According to the Black Dog Institute, nearly half (45%) of the Australian population will experience a mental illness in their lifetime.

Symbolic representation of mental health & schizophrenia - cutout of a head with dark pieces of paper blooming from the top

Achieving employment can be great step towards better self-management, and we'll be with you each step of the way!

Even if you haven't been worked for an extended period, our Disability Employment Service consultants will support you to find work if you are willing and able.

Below are 3 of the many benefits of having a job for someone living with schizophrenia:

1. More self-esteem

Having a job can offer hope, routine, purpose, self-value and social connection. All of which are critical for recovery, and mitigating relapse . Finding work that creates opportunities to make a difference and help others can provide a sense of purpose and pride. It boosts self-confidence and allows you to be part of a team.

Many people working with schizophrenia have said that while at work and alongside others, voices in their head are quietened and their anxiety is reduced. As they feel more positive and independent, their symptoms are milder, and their general happiness is improved.

2. Improved Communication skills

Entering a new workplace could feel a little socially akward at first, but this is a great opportunity to improve your social skills to connect with your colleagues, and even make new friends. As you earn more money, you'll have greater access to professional treatments and rehabilitation.

Your social resilience will also improve as you recieve positive and constructive feedback from your employer and colleagues, too.

Having the tools (Apps, a notebook etc.)  with you at work to help you manage your symptoms such as memory loss for example, will help you manage feelings of confusion and empower you to communicate with more clarity.

3. Increased Awareness

Living with schizophrenia, there may be new challenges in the workplace that weren’t there prior to your diagnosis. You may need to look at different types of work or alternative industries, depending on what your triggers are.

It is also a great opprtunity for your employer to consider disability awareness and ettiquette training, too.

Starting in a new industry is a great opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge in other areas. Combined with any skills and experience from previous employment, it provides the opportunity to expand your qualifications and build your career.

Many companies and organisations provide training, and some provide programs to work towards more senior roles. As you further educate yourself, you can become more accomplished and capable. 

Supervisor chatting to new employee who has schizophrenia

If you have schizophrenia your ability to hold a job is not always directly related to the severity of your illness. Many people with schizophrenia want to work and can thrive in the workplace.

If you're keen to get started in or return to the workplace, contact APM Employment Services so they can help you find a job that works for you.

They can assist you to find a role and organisation that fits your interests, works with your strengths and talents, and offers accommodations for an accessible workplace where required.

Find out if you are eligible for one of APM's employment programs today.

Call APM Employment Services today on 1800 276 276 or email apm4jobs@apm.net.au

Author

Cindy Parsons

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